Amid the childhood obesity epidemic, understanding how organized sports participation contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations in children is important. Anthropometrics were measured in children (n = 111; 68% female, 9.1 ± 0.8yr) before one 50-min soccer match. Time spent at different physical activity intensity levels was examined using Actigraph accelerometers. 49% of the match time was spent in sedentary activity (25.4 ± 5.7 min), while 33% of the match (16.9 ± 4.7 min) was spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA; p < .001). 22.5% of the children were overweight/obese and spent more time in sedentary activity (+3.2 ± 1.2 min; p < .05) and less time in MVPA (-3.0 ± 1.0 min; p < .01) compared with the normal weight children. These data demonstrate that playing an organized sport such as soccer only meets a portion (~25%) of the 60 min of MVPA recommended and even less of this recommendation is met by overweight/obese children.
Sacheck, Nelson, Ficker, Kafka, Kuder, and Economos are with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.